‘We Should’ — Shingle Street, Ancient Saints, & Riverside Cakes

Shingle Street, Suffolk

Shingle Street, Suffolk

Our ‘We Should’ list for local travel keeps growing. So, after several days of working on indoor projects, Clive and I took a break for a walk and exploration of a Suffolk area we hadn’t visited before.

Shingle Street

This alluring coastal hamlet lies a few miles north of Felixstowe on the Suffolk Coast. We were struck immediately by its peacefulness and vistas of sea, sky, and the amazingly-wide swathe of shingle beach, which gives the village its name.

Shingle Street’s single row of cottages once housed fishermen and river pilots, and later the Coast Guard. Today several are holiday homes.

Shingle Street also has a Martello Tower, one of 29 built on the east coast of England for protection during the Napoleonic wars. In more recent times, Shingle Street has been described as a coast full of secrets regarding its military history, including various conspiracy theories around WW II German landings. Shingle Street is located between Orford Ness and Bawdsey, both of which have their own radar and military research history.

For us, the great attraction of Shingle Street is its natural beauty, its tranquility, and the walking one can do there. Just footsteps from the sea, the Suffolk Coast & Heaths footpath winds up and down the county. We took a short walk and agreed ‘we should’ (as usual, adding to the list) return another day when we have more time for what looks like a great 11km circular walk.

Ancient Saints

All Saints church, Hollesley, Suffolk

All Saints church, Hollesley, Suffolk

I am repeatedly moved, sometimes to tears, by the historic churches we come across when walking or exploring in England.

Yesterday’s treasure was All Saints Church, near Shingle Street in the village of Hollesley. The church dates from pre-1087, a date my raised-in-America self still finds incredible. The list of rectors inside the church lists names from 1303. In this year of remembrance 100 years after the start of World War I, we learned from a memorial plaque that five families in this village lost more than one son in that war.

The sweet churchyard contains a bench looking over the gravestones and across the heaths and marshes out to sea. Alas, as much as we enjoy pausing for lunch in such a location, we hadn’t packed a picnic for the day.

Riverside Cakes

River Deben, Bawdsey Quay to Felixstowe Ferry, Suffolk

River Deben, Bawdsey Quay to Felixstowe Ferry, Suffolk

We headed to Bawdsey Quay, which looks across the River Deben back to Felixtowe Ferry.

Here we treated ourselves to afternoon tea at the Boathouse Café — rhubarb and ginger crumble cake (with ice cream, of course) for Clive, and for me, the best (gluten-free!) lemon polenta cake I’ve ever eaten.

The power of place has been a strong force in my life, as evidenced by the title of this blog. I love many of the world’s great cities, but from the first time I visited Suffolk with Clive, was also drawn to the special magic of this corner of the world.

The Suffolk ‘We Should’ continues to grow.

2 Responses

  1. Carolyn,

    Isn’t it great to be able to go out and about in the early Spring time? Thanks so much for this post. I can almost smell the sea, and the insides of the ancient churches.


  2. Hello Martha B and thanks for your comment! You captured it perfectly — the smell of the sea and inside of those beautiful churches.

    Hope you are enjoying springtime in beautiful New England! Cheers.

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